San Pablo is a pretty awesome sector. The members are awesome and there is a ton to do. This is the sector is well known for having tons of baptisms (you can tell because we have a ton of recent converts to take care of...). There are so many things different about this sector but it is awesome. First off, the peeps here. There are two different types of indigenous, I have come to find out. One is from Otavalo. The ones that go walking around in their anakos and alpargatas. The other are those from Cayambe. They have almost the same style of blouse but have bright, colorful acordian style skirts (I will send a picture next week of one). They also wear alpargatas.
I have been accepted into the San Pablo ward. They think I am funny, so that's good. We have a part of our sector names Casco and everytime Hna. Cruz says it, I think that she is saying Costco... We chatted with a teenager who politely listened to us then told us that he was grateful for our time but that he was converted to his religion. It was crazy. I met the F. Pachito and they are awesome recent converts. You know the gospel really does change lives when you see a man covered in tatoos reading from the Book of Mormon on a daily basis.
I told Hna. Cruz that I think that our mamitas hate us because yesterday and today cancelled on us. She laughed. Turns out, something happened everytime so that they could not give us lunch. I was ok with that because we got to be our mamitas today and I made a beef stroganaff. Some days, it really is fun to be our own mamita. After lunch, we went exploring a part of our sector named Pijal. We found a mom and her daughter who went inactive after a year of membership. They happily received us and told us that they wanted us to visit her husband, a nonmember. Later, we visited a lady and her mom. The lady's daugther was watching a barbie movie and I will not lie, it brought back a ton of babysitting memories... It sometimes is really hard when we can't play with the little kids... :(
For our district meeting, our district leader had us throw water balloons at him from the other side of the basketball court. I came the closest to hitting him (it landed at his feet!). It showed how we really cannot help people if we do not invite them to read, pray, and other things, then later verify if they did them. After our meeting, we visited with a family where one of the sons wants to progress but is stuck in his doubts. We talked about the simplicity of the gospel and he had an "ah-hah" moment when he realized that all he has to do is have faith that Heavenly Father will guide him.
We had an hermano come install a new smoke detector in the house. He knows me pretty well from when my house burned down in the coast and said that when I come back to visit the mission, that he will take me and whoever else comes with me to the Oriente, since hermanas cannot go in our mission. I am pretty excited. We ate lunch with a family of RM's and the mom says that she will help me finish putting together my Otavalanian blouse that I started about 3 months ago (I am almost done!). I met F. Casco and they wanted to sing to close our lesson. We could not stop laughing for 5 minutes and they kept blaming me. It was hilarious because even teh super serious 16 year old son was laughing.
We visited the F. Pachito and the hermana wants me to teach her how to embroider with ribbon. I feel pretty cool... Ok, yeah not really... I met our ward mission leader and he is awesome. No one was really home so we contacted the rest of the night until it was time to go home.
So that mom and daughter that we found in Pijal who the dad is not a member? Yeah, they brought him to church and he liked it! We ate lunch with a couple that have been members for two years and they are hilarious. We went looking for people but no one was home! You have to love the weekends where everyone calls it, DURMINGO instead of DOMINGO. Hahaha they are funny people.
I think this is officially the first time that I have cried about receiving transfers. I thought that with these transfers, I would only be working in Imbaya or Cotama but I got transferred to San Pablo! Nooo! Oh well, it is the same work every where you go.
Tuesday I love how one of our less actives is super pumped to keep progressing to help her husband to come to know the church. While we were talking to Silvia, she told us that she wanted to receive her Patriarchal blessing to help her husband. It is so awesome that she is seeking more the help of the Lord to help her husband. Later in the evening, we visited Rebeka and Cristian. While talking about faith and repentance, Hna. Padilla found a giant worm on her sweater and was freaking out for the rest of the night. It was a pretty funny sight.
Wednesday We ate lunch with F. Picuasi and took pictures with them. I had lent my camera to Hno. Picuasi for an English project and when he returned my camera, I had tons of selfies of him with his wife and baby. It was pretty funny. We went back to finish what we were talking about with Rebeka and Cristian and the whole time their little girl, Amy, was planning with my Plan of Salvation cutouts. She thoroughly enjoyed them.
Thursday Our weekly meetings are a little weird now that we do not have zone meetings after district meetings but hey, we still get stuff done. We went to a part of Cotama named Quitugo where we met a partial family (not all are members) and they are super awesome. They received us well and understood even better.
Friday We were invited to a ward baptism to give a message. Pamela was so excited to be baptized! We have been visiting her and her family because her sister is inactive. They are an awesome family. Afterwards, we went with an hermano to a less active so that he could give her a blessing. It is always amazing to feel the spirit when someone receives a blessing. We visited a recent convert who has been struggling and tonight, she was doing tons better! She open up about her doubts and problems and felt a lot better after we left.
Saturday We went to go visit the family in Quitugo that we had visited in Thursday but only two of the kids were home. One, a 14 year old boy, did not want to be near us at all. He had been through quite a bit and just hurts inside. We started talking about the Restoration and he just looked down at the ground the whole time. As we started to talk about Joseph Smith and how he had been through quite a bit but decided to pray then had the First Vision, the boy head slowly started to raise. With more time, he began to participate and happily accepted a Book of Mormon and a date for baptism!
Sunday We got Hna. Padilla's stuff together and went to church. No one seemed to have paid attention when she said that she was going home because everyone after Sacrament meeting was asking about her going home soon, as in next week or something. We took a few pictures with members, sat through our two ward counsels, and then the bishop took us to the church. Originally, I was going to go with the hermanas of Carabuela but it made more sense to go with Hna. Cruz, who her companion was going home as well, than go with them. I said goodbye to Hna. Padilla and then we headed to go home for lunch. We visited a few people then got home dead tired. We waited for the calls. First, Hna. Cruz got her call saying that I would be going to San Pablo (another part of Otavalo) with her. She kept saying that she did not believe him and when she hung up, she said that we would wait to see what my district leader said. About 20 minutes later, I got the same call. We quickly packed my stuff and went to bed.
This morning, we went to drop off a few things at the neighbor and when they asked about transfers, they said, "Thanks Hna. Cruz for coming to take away our Hna. Duff..." It was pretty funny but sad at the same time. I hugged everyone goodbye and we headed to Gonzales (where we live.). In San Pablo, there is a giant lake and our sector is everything around the lake. It is pretty awesome. We can see a little bit of the lake from our house. What is really nice is that I am still close to Otavalo so that if we go to the market, I still have the chance to see all the members from Imbaya and Cotama!
That is pretty much my week in a nutshell. I hope you all have a great week!
"To serve others effectively, we must see them through a parent's eyes, through Heavenly Father's eyes." -Dale G. Renlund
Tuesday We were told that we were going to have divisions with the hermanas, so we hurried to get some visits in before then got late to lunch. I got to go out and work with Hna. Cardenas. We visited one lady who was not really receptive before but as we taught, she paid more attention. She had some bad experiences with members but said that she would be willing to do a tour of the church with us. We set one up for next week. Later, we went to visit one less active to help him finish up his lessons to be considered reactivated and as we were leaving, his wife came home. She never wanted to see us and on several occaisions, has slammed the door in my face. We decided to try one more time with her and she began to open up and tell us all her problems and worries. It was an awesome night because we were able to talk about the Atonement with her and show her how she could use the Atonement to heal her wounds on her heart.
Wednesday We had interviews with president! Bum bum bummmmmmmm... Apparently, he said that we would have 15 minutes or less to talk to him but I ended up talking to him for more than a half hour about all the questions I had. It was pretty funny when I walked out of my interview and my zone said, "POR FIN!". It was pretty funny. Shortest lesson I have ever taught was tithing to a less active in less than 2 minutes. Boom! It was awesome. One of our investigators was amazed because he did not think we knew how to use the Bible. I have actually been studying the New Testament lately and it has been quite interesting. I have learned so much. "The Sabbath and the Sacrament become much more enjoyable as we study the stories of Christ." (Claudio R. M. Costa). How true this has become for me!
Thursday We went exploring a part of our sector that I did not know before. Quitugo is exactly what I pictured all of Ecuador to be. I will definitely have to send a picture. The elders quorum president took us around and showed us a few of the people's homes and introduced us. It was exhausting but will be fun to start working there. We finished lessons with our less active and he is now officially activated. His wife now smiles at us and gave us an orange!
Friday Our investigator, Maria, was finally home and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon. Her eyes shone so brightly as we explained the BOM and how it would help her. She was even more excited to know that it would be her very own copy. We went to a wedding! An hermano in the ward got married and we were there for a little bit to support him in the church. Then we headed to Gualapuro which I am going to rename Gualapolvo because the roads are pure dirt! We walk in 6 inches of dirt! It is crazy! We visited a few investigators then I went to play doctor for a member who had hurt her foot (She told me later that it felt so much better and that I am officially Doctor Hermana Duff).
Saturday We prepped a ward baptism then went exploring Quitugo some more. We found a guy named German and he was super awesome. He kept asking super good questions and is excited to keep learning more. He said that he would talk to his neighbor, the elders quorum president, for more information until we come another day. We found yet another Narnia in our sector (an area where there are tons of houses that missonaries have not gone to for a really long time) and they received us really well. We are going to do some more exploring there next week.
Sunday It was a little bit of a rough day for Hna. Padilla. She had to give her final testimony in Imbaya because we won't be there next Sunday because she has to go to Quito. She is set up to give her final testimony in Cotama next Sunday. Later in the evening, we had a huge noche de hogar with the ward and they sang, God Be with You 'til We Meet Again. It was a super funny night. Everytime the returned missionaries would be waving goodbye to her during the hymn, she would just point at her nametag. It is so weird to think that she is finishing her mission...
Today, we celebrated her last Pday with her buying a duffel bag, buying ice cream, eating choclitos, getting her hair cut, and going to drop some stuff off to our ward mission leader. A pretty relaxed Pday but a fun one. Hope you have a great week!
Sometimes, as missionaries, we have our ups and our downs. When we are up, the world is beautiful and everything goes just swimmingly. In the downs, we learn that we must put all of our trust and faith in our Heavenly Father to get us through. If not, we end up having a ton of problems and can get depressed. It has been really rough this transfer because we have not been able to go out and work. This week, we were finally able to start working normally again Thursday.
In my studies, I found a quote by El. Pino that says, "The only true source of comfort is God". At first I thought, "No, I can find comfort in chocolate or whatever worldly thing that can make me happy temporarily." but as I began to think more, I realized that what El. Pino said is true. Our Heavenly Father knows us and what can make us happy (though chocolate always does help). I found this week to help me get through everything that my prayers became more sincere. I found more comfort and answers in my studies. While Hna. Padilla rested, I cleaned the house and my shoes. Our neighbor brought us potatoes and rice so that we could make a simple dinner.
I remember that when I was going home this time last year, Hna. Richardson called me and talked to me about how during our trials, we need to show even more gratitude to life our spirits because this is what they always do in the scriptures. I personally thought that she was a little crazy but then I started to look into it and it really does help! I read a talk by El. Gong where he talked about how we always need to remember Christ in every aspect of our lives. One of the ways to do that is to be grateful in every moment. Later in the evening, the owner of the house stopped by to talk to us about how the house and neighbors were. She said that her brother would pass by to fix somethings the next day and that she would talk to our crazy neighbors (since I have been here, our other neighbors have called the cops on them twice). It is so nice when the owner of the house is LDS because they usually take a lot better care of us.
There were quite a few changes again. Now we will not be having zone meetings every week. There were a few other changes too. It is crazy but they all make sense. We went to go find one of our less actives and ended up finding him at his job. He was amazed that we found him at work. I couldn't help but laugh. We visited the family Chaves and then a family Cacuango. The wife is slowly starting to progress! She read the chapter that we assigned in the Book of Mormon and felt like it really did answer her question! She said that she felt so good about what she read that when we offered to give her another chapter in the Book of Mormon to answer a question, she got so excited.
We went to visit the family Cacuango but they were a little busy with their new house that they have been building for the past few months. We helped them clean up a little bit so that we could share something quick with them. As we were getting ready to finish up the lesson, the little girl Amy, a 1 year old, picked up a screwdriver and almost stabbed Hna. Padilla in the neck. After we took away the screwdriver, I almost died of laughter. They always talk about "Chucky" here and so I said that she was mini-Chucky. Amy seemed to like the name. After family Cacuango, we visited Silvia who was super excited to update us on her husband. Ever since our first lesson and explanation of the Book of Mormon, he has been reading a ton. He is really excited to come back to talk to us more about what the gospel has to offer him. Silvia was so excited to tell us about his excitement. She is now more encouraged to come back to church.
We got a call from an hermana who asked us if her little boy was going to be baptized today. He is 8 years old and she has only ever known missionaries to do baptisms. We called the bishop and he explained that it was for the next week. We called her back and explained it to her. We found a less active that I had been looking for since the end of May. She was really excited to see us and told us how the missionary who baptized her had just come to visit her. Heavenly Father has a way of putting things in just the right place. Like it says in 1 Nephi 21: 14-16, Christ has us engraven upon his palms. He will never forget us. Sometimes things get hard but Christ knows exactly what we are going through and what He can do to help us.
We had a busy Sunday. We got more less actives to work with and the ward mission plan. Our bishop was super excited to show us that we were right on track to reach all of our goals. The other bishop gave us the assignment to work in a specific part of the sector where there is a ton of potential. We have it set up to work with several members to go there. We went walking around Gualapuro looking for a few people but they were not home. On our way down the giant hill, a lady started to talk to us and we chatted with her. She was so excited to hear what we had to talk about that she said that she wanted us to come visit her and her husband. We have an appointment for Friday with her! We had the wife of one of our less actives slam the door in our face. That was a first... We were able to enter and chat with him. You have to love the awkward situations...
Today we had a district activity where we ate, watched the life of Joseph Smith, and played a game with a basketball. It is the simple things that are the best! I hope you have a great week and keep me up to date in your lives!
Yep, from what you can see in the title, we got to spend enough time in the hospital that we were fed a few times.
Tuesday In my studies, we were given a talk about the Divine Gift of Repentance by El. Christofferson. He really knows how to call us to repentance. I really enjoyed the talk and suggest it! We went to Quito for a doctor's appointment. It went well. Hna. Padilla was given some medicine to help with her head and stomach. I had a dentist appointment a little bit later. At the dentist, there were 6 other missionaries there waiting to see the dentist. It was a little ridiculous. I got checked really quick then we were about to head home when the nurse said it was too late to go home. We helped in the office for a little bit until they let us go sleep at the nurse's house. I finally learned what they do with all of our weekly reports. They all get put into a big binder and sent to Salt Lake City. How cool is that?!
Wednesday We chatted with the nurses for a little bit before heading back to Otavalo. When we got home, we did our weekly planning and went to lunch. We met up with the hermana leaders and did splits so that we could get some work done in our sector. I got to go with Hna. Cardenas to work in Imbaya. We visited one of our recently reactivated youth and his friend then contacted until it was time to meet up again. When we got together again, Hna. Padilla and I went to visit a few of our inactives that are close to being reactivated. Afterwards, we visited one of our investigators to verify that she is reading. She has been marking her scriptures and circling the words that she does not understand! That is awesome because it shows that she is ready to learn!
Thursday The mission is a ton of paperwork I have come to decide. We have to keep everything on file that we do and turn in reports. We had our zone counsel and talks about the challenges that our zone has been having. We all laughed because our whole zone has been basically sick this whole month. After our meeting, we ate lunch at the bishop's house and chatted with the housekeeper. She says that we can come to visit her and her husband! Yay! We visited a few other investigators then headed to have our weekly meeting with our ward mission leader. The poor guy had a ton of things that he had to talk about in ward counsel.
Friday Hna. Padilla was not doing so well during studies, so we called the nurse. She set an appointment for that day and we headed to Quito (again...). When Hna. Padilla came out of the appointment, she told me that we were going to spend some more time in the hospital. She was admitted and we began a bunch of tests. The bright point of this night was while the doctor was doing an ultrasound and I was cracking water jokes to Hna. Padilla because she had to go to the bathroom really bad. The doctor almost had an accident himself as I told the jokes.
Saturday I was stuck. In a tiny hospital room. All day. And could not leave. I almost went insane. Thankfully, the nurses came to visit. Also, the zone leaders from Quito Oeste came to give Hna. Padilla a blessing. Also, I was fed very fancy food. Who the heck eats salmon in a hospital?? Me. I did a ton of study today. I read through 12 chapters of the Bible, all the Pearl of Great Price, and 4 very long talks. By the time I get home, I will know so much it will be ridiculous. Just kidding but still, I got tired from studying...
Sunday The assistants came and gave us the sacrament because we could not leave our hospital room. Then they sang us a hymn. It was a little weird... We did some more studying. The nurses came and I got to go for a 10 minute walk to get me out of the tiny hospital room. It was so nice to get out.
All the tests came back negative for Hna. Padilla. She was sent home with some medication and rest for a few more days. We are doing good. I hope you all have a great week and to hear from you soon! :)